Seasons of Food

I have this thing with being seasonal. As a resident of Los Angeles I will tell you it is absolutely true that our weather averages out to be in the 70’s or 80’s and sunny the majority of the year.

When I grew up in Oregon there were differentiated times of year with actual leaves that fall on the ground and crunch… snowflakes and flowers that bloomed in the spring.

Here its year round swimsuits and sunglasses. Which is lovely, but often I long for a separation of those four pillars of the calendar year.

For me as a mom and just as my own person I do whatever I can to create the seasons in my home. I want my daughters to remember certain things happen at particular times of the year so that life isn’t one long sunshine run on sentence.

The best way to mark these changes in the year is with food.

You know I love food and I LOVE honoring the produce that matches the time of year it is actually ripe.

I do a little happy dance when I see peaches cherries sitting in piles at the farmers market at the beginning of summer. I become lightheaded with glee when juicy ripe peaches are on display. At the beginning of fall I welcome back apples and pears in to the fold. I like to have my produce out on display on the kitchen counter. I will grab an apple faster or be inspired for dinner immediately if I can see what I have.

I always have turkey chili on the first day back to school. Pumpkin muffins replace banana muffins when the temperature drops. I veer towards squashes and deliciously sweet root vegetables to roast as we ease in to winter. I make hearty soups and stews, pasta bakes and delicious concoctions in my baby blue Le Creuset as the holidays come and go. The good thing is a great loaf of artisan bread with butter and sea salt is year round.

Of course artichokes, asparagus and everything green in the spring and then meringues and salads in the summer along side grilled corn. We go through watermelon and blueberries faster than i can purchase them. Sometimes cutting the melon directly off of the rind to eat over the kitchen sink.

I have always been a baker and cobblers are a dessert that translate throughout the season seamlessly. I often use them to clean out my leftover fruit from the week. I have made many apple pear cobblers swimming in cinnamon and nutmeg with fresh whipped cream. When its berry season I will mix any leftover berries with stone fruit and bake it with a light oat topping. Perfect a la mode.

Drinks pertain to this as well. Tea is for fall and winter, lemonade only in summer and coffee is always brewed hot 365 days a year.

I really enjoy marking each season with special culinary traditions. Although they may not be fancy or over the top. I know that my kids will always look back on their childhood and remember the sun kissed strawberries from the side of the road in Malibu after the beach… or the smell of chicken soup simmering on the stovetop.

Every taste, every smell will be a link to a memory. A seasonal memory that I happily marked with love and a teaspoon.